Top 5 Macworld predictions

17 Dec 2008

Yes folks, it’s that time of year again. No, not Christmas silly, pre-Macworld time! What wondrous gadgets and gizmos will Steve Jobs unveil this year? After two blinders in a row – the iPhone followed by the MacBook Air – Apple fans are expecting big things, and the rumour mill has already kicked into action.

1. Apple’s netbook: the MacBook Air Mini

What has been big in tech this year? Apart from the iTunes App Store, everyone have been talking non-stop about the rise of the netbook, and, from some people’s perspective, while Asus has been rocking the EEE PC, Apple has missed the boat completely on this trend.

This is not quite true because the Air is Apple’s ultra-light, ultra-slim laptop with no optical drive. However, the price point does set it apart from the other netbooks. Perhaps the MacBook Air Mini with a 9/10-inch screen, rather than a 13.3-inch, will be on the cards this time round, especially seeing as how Jobs never said no to the possibility.

“We’ll see how it goes” is a yes, right?

2. Mac Mini update

Not exactly earth-shattering stuff, but the Mac Mini has not been updated in a long time (August, 2007) and is well due a refresh. This 6.5 x 6.5-inch square mini-computer has a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with up to 160GB of storage, so more than likely we will be seeing an increase in hard drive at the very least.

3. MobileMe iTunes access

Cloud computing is set to be one of the strongest trends in 2009 and Apple has already begun the process with MobileMe – syncing software that gives your iPhone or iPod touch access to your desktop address book, mail and calendar.

But what is missing from the equation? Access to your media library! If Apple does one thing with MobileMe this year, it should be to allow access to the cloud where all of your iTunes content – tunes, movies, podcast and TV shows – can be played directly from your iPhone, iPod touch or MacBook. Think about it – your entertainment entirely at your fingertips.

4. iPhone nano

While the iPhone nano is one of the most persistent Apple rumours circulating right now, it is also one of the more ridiculous – why would Apple want to pare down the screen on the iPhone?

Why would it want to make the iPhone cheaper? And most importantly, does it not have better things to be doing to improve the iPhone, other than shrinking it? This could have been the argument against the netbook movement, but while the netbook made the laptop affordable and ultra-mobile, the iPhone already has these things going for it.

5. 5-megapixel camera and video for iPhone

What the iPhone is really crying out for is a decent camera. While other companies have blazed ahead – LG’s Renoir being a top example – with 8-megapixel touchscreen, autofocus, flash, red-eye correction and so on, Apple has left a puny 2-megapixel dud in the iPhone. No flash, no video, no editing.

If Apple makes one important change to the iPhone (aside from Flash functionality, cut-and-paste and MMS of course!), it must be to beef up the camera and make it truly proud to stand alone as king of phones.

By Marie Boran

Pictured: Apple’s current answer to the netbook, the MacBook Air, but will it go further with new annoucements at Macworld?